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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Waiting in the wings: Kansas signee Kelly Oubre says move to Vegas beneficial

McDonald’s West All-American Kelly Oubre, left, blocks the shot of McDonald’s East All-American James Blackmon Jr. during the first half of the McDonald’s All-American Game on Wednesday in Chicago. Oubre is a Kansas University signee. Blackmon is headed to Indiana.

McDonald’s West All-American Kelly Oubre, left, blocks the shot of McDonald’s East All-American James Blackmon Jr. during the first half of the McDonald’s All-American Game on Wednesday in Chicago. Oubre is a Kansas University signee. Blackmon is headed to Indiana.

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Associated Press

McDonald’s West All-American Kelly Oubre, left, blocks the shot of McDonald’s East All-American James Blackmon Jr. during the first half of the McDonald’s All-American Game on Wednesday in Chicago. Oubre is a Kansas University signee. Blackmon is headed to Indiana.

Kelly Oubre McDonald's All American practice

Kansas University signee Kelly Oubre, Jr., a 6-foot-7 wing from Richmond, Texas, goes through drills in the days leading up to the McDonald'a All American game. (Video courtesy of McDonald's)

Cliff Alexander McDonald's All American practice

Kansas University signee Cliff Alexander, a 6-foot-9 post player from Curie Metro High, in Chicago, goes through drills in the days leading up to the McDonald'a All American game. (Video courtesy of McDonald's)

— Kelly Oubre Jr. had no say in the matter the first time his life was uprooted.

The second time was not accompanied by such dramatic circumstances, and he did not question his father’s advice.

“My dad has a method behind his madness,” Oubre said. “I’m blessed to have him in my life. He knew what he was doing sending me to Las Vegas. It was time for me to get out from under his wing and become a man.”

Sin City might seem like a curious choice for a spiritual teenager to come of age, but Las Vegas Findlay Prep has proven to be a game-changer.

Founded in 2007, the high school exists as a basketball breeding ground. Already five of its alumni have reached the NBA, and 11 of its current students are Div. I prospects.

Oubre, the kid Kansas University is counting on to replace Andrew Wiggins on the wing next season, said the move from Texas to Vegas benefitted him as a player and a person.

“I don’t want to limit myself,” Oubre said. “I want to further my game and challenge myself from a competitive standpoint. We played the best competition every night and did a lot of traveling, got to see the world. More experiences, more maturity and being on my own away from my family is going to help me get ready for college.”

One of two Findlay Prep players in the 2014 McDonald’s All-American Games, the 6-foot-7 Oubre’s story is unique.

Born in New Orleans, Oubre, who scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the West team’s 105-102 victory over the East on Wednesday in the United Center, vividly remembers the August, 2005 night before Hurricane Katrina hit.

“We were contemplating leaving or staying,” he said. “My dad wanted to stay, and my mom wanted to leave. We packed our stuff the night before the storm. The severity of the storm happened, and we got out.”

They never went back. The Oubres chose Houston for reasons he did not know as a rising fourth grader and still doesn’t to this day.

There was no family there, and the transition wasn’t easy.

“We lost a lot of stuff,” Oubre said. “We lived out of a hotel for a little bit. As I look back now, it was difficult for me. It motivated me, coming from nothing, having to leave everything behind and having to start a new life.

“At the time, it wasn’t as bad. I was young. Now I look back at it as a humbling experience. It motivates me to go hard at everything I do because I can lose everything in one second.”

Overcoming such adversity has contributed to his faith in God, Oubre said, and it probably also played a role in developing confidence.

So sure of his ability to shoot, he did so often as a young player and at the expense of other aspects of his game.

He is now known as a true “three-level” scorer and is ranked as the No. 6 prospect nationally by Scout.com — one spot behind fellow incoming KU freshman Cliff Alexander, who had nine points and 11 boards for the losing East team on Wednesday.

Oubre now considers himself a scorer rather than a shooter.

“I like to get to the rack more than shoot,” he said. “My game used to reside on just shooting threes. A lot of people got in my ear and said that’s not what I need to do. I just like to play off energy and defense and get buckets.”

Oubre has no doubt that he’ll be able to step in and make an immediate impact as Wiggins’ replacement.

“Even if he would have stayed, I was going to make an impact right away because my will to win, my will to succeed is just too high,” he said. “I feel like I can’t be stopped, and it shows in my play.”

Comments

Steve Zimmerman 5 months ago

God-gifted, God-loving young man, Oubre is going to excel no matter what position he'll be playing at KU. I'm excited and can't wait to watch him & team in action. We're looking good in recruiting high caliber like Wiggins, Mbiid, etc. now what? HCBS has got to prove once again - not to bring NCAA trophy to Lawrence, but to put together an A team in less than a year, not two or three, and carry the team to be the champion. The monkey is back..

BTW, do we have possible '15 signees yet?

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Reggie Flenory 5 months ago

Bill has been after chicago pg jalen brunson super hard 2015 four star recruit

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Jack Wilson 5 months ago

5 star .. can't short the dude a star.

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Reggie Flenory 5 months ago

Both kelly and cliff had solid night cliff didnt look as explosive as he usually does his wrist muust have limited him

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Beau Woolsey 5 months ago

I wonder if hd knows he quoted Polonious.

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Brett McCabe 5 months ago

Is it a foul when you grab the defender by the neck? I guess they really do focus on offense in that game!

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Tony Bandle 5 months ago

OAKVILLE ODDITIES:

1] Watching the game was kind of like watching a Junior Varsity NBA contest.....the abilities are there but the bodies haven't quite caught up yet.

2] Oh yeah, and the refs were probably not betting on the game!!

3] I will bet Coach Self cringes everytime he watches a Mickey "NO-D" Game!! :)

4] After watching Myles in action last night, a Turner for Embiid trade off isn't nearly as one-sided as it might sound.

5] Kelly had the best 'do.

6] Kelly may not have quite the talent level of Andrew, but it appears his aggression level may be higher. In many cases effort can eclipse ability..we'll see.

7] Turner is very good..Okafor is a little better...neither compare to Jo Jo.

8] If Turner commits, that would be five Mickey D's, correct? [Ellis, Selden, Alexander, Oubre, Turner]...isn't that the highest number KU has ever had simultaneously on the same team?

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Suzi Marshall 5 months ago

And if Embiid returns, the best of the bunch was not a McD. Bet that selection committee would like to have a redo on that pick. Turner should give that some thought when thinking where he can best develop.

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Erich Hartmann 5 months ago

2007 MickeyDs: Arthur, Wright, Rush, Chalmers, Sherron.

2008 MickeyDs: Arthur, Cole, Rush, Chalmers, Sherron.

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Chad Greenlee 5 months ago

Why is there no story about Manning being offered the Wake job??

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Chad Greenlee 5 months ago

didn't see them on the front page.. blush

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Chad Greenlee 5 months ago

From Tulsa to KU would be a huge step.. Wake to KU not so much.. is it writing on the wall?

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Brandon Mahon 5 months ago

This is a pretty interesting article I found, I don't think Oubre's father would be lying about this... More evidence coach cal is not a good coach

http://kentuckysportsradio.com/main/kelly-oubres-father-implies-calipari-will-kick-you-out-if-you-are-not-ready-for-nba/

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Jack Wilson 5 months ago

Hmm .. coach Cal not a good coach?

One shot away from a national title in 2008; three final fours in the last four years with a national title.

Cal is an incredible coach. I know there is the desire to speak negatively of him simply because we don't like Kentucky. But my guess is that any KU fan would trade our last four seasons with Kentucky's in a second.

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Terry N Tom Denner 5 months ago

He ruined U Mass and then Memphis and give the goon another couple of years with recruiting and he will ruin Kentucky.

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Ethan Berger 5 months ago

Thing is that none of the problems were really his fault. The Rose situation was similar enough to darrell arthur and at UMASS, player go involved with an agent. Even the most corrupt ones don't let players get involved with agents willingly.

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John Randall 5 months ago

You guess wrong, Jack! You forgot to mention the record of two Final Four appearances erased from the record books, just after Cal sneaked out of Amherst and Memphis … truly a legacy to be admired. He's not any more of a cheater that some others, but he's a lot slimier at getting someone else (school, player, talent scout, anyone not named Cal) saddled with consequences.

You're also off base with guessing "any KU fan" is venal enough to trade self-respect for a few more trophies. Quite a few of us have our priorities in better order than yours.

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